Back from Mumbai

I spent the last week in Mumbai. I had several meetings in all corners of town. I had a chance to meet with the CEO of an insurance company with 20,000+ employees , the Chief People officer of an 18,000 person insurance company, visited the office campus of two of India's largest companies & met many other interesting firms / people.

In between all my meetings, I had a chance to see Mumbai as I drove from one corner to another. Since I know most of you don't want to hear about business, I thought I would instead regale you with my observations of Mumbai.

First off, I am a HUGE fan of Bombay. Yes, it is has issues. It is crowded, loud, busy, traffic clogged, and frankly a whole host of other issues make you want to hate it. And yet, it is the only city I've visited in India that has the same energy I've come to know and love in New York & Chicago. In sections, it is incredibly walkable - encouraging you to explore it's worn down British East Indies style architecture.

Here are some high level observations.

BEEF! After a month in Delhi, where the cow is sacred.... I was delighted to find beef readily available and frankly tasty. At Cafe' Mondegar - a laid back crowd of backpackers & hip locals seemed eager to wolf down the beef chili dry - a chinese style beef dish served in the cozy, if not loud, bar. I was more than sceptical of the beef at this place... maybe it was the Def Leopard & Bryan Adams "summer of '69" blasting that made me think... perhaps I should stick to chicken. However, after being talked into it, it was quite tasty.

New Taxis!
Delhi is a town full of auto-rickshaws (or tuk-tuks as some of you may know them), so it came as quite a delight to see taxi's on the street. The taxis are easy to hail, and full of personality. In the states, you consider yourself lucky if you get the one or two crazy cab drivers who have decorated their cab. I'm sure at least some of you have ridden in either a "santa" cab or one covered w/ business cards....

In Mumbai, it seems downright odd if you end up in a cab with no personality. The cabs are all the same model, a fiat I think. One of my business meetings was with a man who's grandfather-in-law began manufacturing this model in India. In anycase, it was a treat to hail a cab with 4 doors & windows that close. If only the roof wasn't quite so low....